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© Copyright 2024, John Bowman

Welcome to our FBHVC Page.

The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs represents our interests nationally, fighting for those who enjoy using their Classic Cars.

Robin Astle, our Club's FBHVC representative gives a monthly report on what's going on.

Robin Astle

July 2024

by Robin Astle.

From FBHVC Historic 2024 Issue 2

Legislation by Lindsay Irvine

A good few topics are covered in this edition, some of which were discussed in detail at the Legislation Committee meetings that have taken place since the last edition of Historic. So, although still in draft, I describe our response to the Government’s latest consultation on Martyn’s Law (the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill); the successful outcome of an approach we made to a council on behalf of a club whose meets had been banned; and the encouraging response we received from another council in relation to their Car Cruising proposals. Although not the subject of any action on our part, I discuss the issues in relation to a recent online petition asking for reduced Vehicle Tax for cars aged between 20 and 40 years to which the government have provided a response. I remind you that, although not marked immediate on our in-tray, we continue to monitor ULEZ and CAZ developments and make progress in the EV and Automated Vehicles areas.

Finally, although it seems a while ago now, I enjoyed assisting in manning the FBHVC Village at the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show and meeting some of the club and individual members. I was impressed at how optimistic but realistic most were about the future. I was grateful for the acknowledgement conveyed about the work of the Federation and some asked what more they as clubs could do to assist. Hopefully, some questions were answered satisfactorily and, if not, you received a coherent explanation of why not!

Martyn’s Law

As I described in a previous edition of the magazine, this legislation was inspired by the family of one of the victims (Martyn Hett) of the appalling terrorist incident at the Manchester Arena in 2017. The subsequent inquiry found failings by the event organisers and others relating to prevention of a terrorist act and measures to mitigate the effects of such an act when it occurred.

The legislation proposes the appointment of a Regulator to oversee actions by owners and operators of event premises to ensure better preparedness for, and protection from, terrorist attacks. New statutory enforceable duties on the operators will be put into law, the extent of those duties depending on the capacity of the venue. The legislation proposes two tiers, 100 to 800 capacity being Tier 1, and 800 and above being Tier 2. Clearly, the duties on the operators of larger venues would be more onerous but the Home Affairs Select Committee which scrutinised the first draft of the Bill was concerned about the potentially adverse effect on smaller venues which has led to revised clauses and proposals and a fresh consultation in February. https:// These changes were to address the Select Committee’s concerns (which we shared) that the cost and burden of fulfilling the new statutory duties might jeopardise the viability of some Tier 1 venues such as village halls, the very type which clubs use for their smaller events or AGMs. The government’s contention is that their revised proposals which remove the requirement to complete a specified form or ensure that people working at the premises are given any specific training, will mitigate the concerns of the Select Committee.

Confining the duties to the procedures to be followed by people working at the premises in the event of an attack occurring or being suspected as about to occur, is contended to be not too onerous. Whilst we made it clear we understood the rationale for the legislation, in our response we advocated further consideration of the necessity for and proportionality of the new regulatory provisions for small venues. In addition, through a very helpful intervention by one of our member clubs, we advanced some questions on how the different level of legal duties and responsibilities would work where, as not infrequently happens, a club has hired a Tier 2 larger venue (racecourse, school or college grounds or promenade) for an event for numbers of people far less than the stated capacity. Will the required duties be mitigated or modified, or will they still need to be fulfilled with the greater costs being absorbed in the increased hire rate? We will see where this one goes but the Federation has obvious concerns about increased cost burdens for clubs in these straitened times.

Car Cruising

As reported in the 1st edition of Historic, we made submissions to South Gloucestershire Council on the subject of ‘Car Cruising’. As a recap, where localities are plagued with annoying and occasionally dangerous behaviour perpetrated by what is often termed ‘boy racer’ drivers on the public highway or in car parks, councils are ‘driven’ to seek powers to ban them. In the case of South Gloucestershire, a Public Safety Protection Order (PSPO) is being pursued to discourage, inter alia, “driving at excessive speed in carparks, racing other vehicles (including motor bikes and quad bikes), performing stunts (i.e. doughnuts) shouting or swearing at or otherwise intimidating other people.”

So that legitimate HV activities did not risk becoming confused with such bad behaviour, we requested in our response to their consultation that:

  1. The order is amended to contain a provision for specific dispensations from Prohibited Activities for specific events to take place on land to which the draft order applies and
  2. The council provide a clear and unambiguous assurance that guidance will be provided to those monitoring or enforcing the Order on the primary purpose of the injunction and that common sense should be applied to lawful gatherings of historic vehicles enthusiasts.

As I relayed in my last column, we received a swift and positive response from the council on our submission. We were also invited to provide some wording that might assist in the fulfilment of para a above. In responding, we also indicated that we were encouraged by the wording of the FAQs which had been produced by the council. Based on the very positive and cooperative approach taken by this council and taking into account a fair amount of experience of similar orders in force elsewhere, we have confidence that a sensible approach will be taken by the authorities toward HVs travelling together to an event.

Alio die, aliam petitionem

Another day another petition, as my favourite Latin authors might have said! We are regularly asked to support lobbying of the government to extend the zero rate of Vehicle Excise Duty to vehicles (principally cars) younger than the current 40 years. The most recent approach related to a petition requesting the government “Reduce Vehicle Tax for cars aged between 20 and 40 years old”.

We are alive to the international classification of HVs as those 30 years old and over, and as our website reflects, we do aspire to persuade government to meet that goal. However, timing is everything, as are coherent and substantive arguments. We adjudge that the timing is not right and that the reasons being advanced are not strong enough to make success likely. An extension to only 30 years will result in a vast increase in the number of zero rated cars, let alone extending by a further 10 years. Unarguably such vehicles are much more useable on modern roads than those aged 40+, and although claims are made by many owners that they do a low mileage, in the light of the London ULEZ experience, the authorities may be sceptical of that assertion. HV status brings privileges which are justified by mainly leisure use and low mileage. However, these mileages are not officially monitored and there is a risk that they might be as a condition if any extension was contemplated. As I have previously noted, some European countries already impose conditions on the use of HVs in return for permission to operate. Hence, we are not currently in a position to lend unlimited support to an extension.

EVs and automation

As you will appreciate, the Federation takes no political stance on EVs and as can be gleaned from our chairman’s collection of eclectic ‘compact’ EVs, they are very much part of the HV community. Our only interest is how the increase in their numbers and promotion by government might affect our freedom to operate, whether by reduction in availability of fuel or loss of technical expertise or spares through any deliberate or accidental legislative provision. So, the current meltdown in EVs sales experienced across Europe is only significant to us in terms of whether government targets on delivering Net Zero will be altered and pressure on the phasing out of ICE vehicles eased. The same is true of our attitude to automation where, aside from some successful bus trials, there is a growing recognition of the considerable challenges of using self driving/driverless/automated vehicles on anything but segregated roads. The legislative principles and provisions are being developed but the technical challenges remain.

I mention these topics to let new readers, who may not have seen my previous articles on this, know that we are very much alive to the issues. They are not going away and will become increasingly significant to our activities. Our task is to find suitable accommodation so that we can continue to enjoy our freedoms.

DVLA by Ian Edmunds

Despite recent assurances given by DVLA to the classic press there is still no sign of their promised policy review, and the much-vaunted Historic Vehicle User Group (HVUG) appears to be moribund. However, there are a few individual items of DVLA news to report for this issue of Historic.

One of the many unannounced retrograde steps taken by DVLA over the last few years was to stop accepting dating statements from still extant manufacturers on the pretext that they carried ‘digital’ signatures rather than ‘wet’ signatures. This has been one of the Federation’s ten key issues in recent discussions with DfT and with DVLA. Although there has been no formal dissemination of this information, we learn from the Head of Policy at DVLA that they have now reverted to their previous position of accepting such documents provided they are supported by a covering letter from the appropriate club. Whilst this will not affect many of our members it is nevertheless a small step in the right direction and we can only hope it signals a return to a more pragmatic and constructive approach from DVLA.

An announcement made by DVLA during March attracted the attention of the specialist press and generated a certain amount of excitement in some quarters. This move by DVLA applies specifically to one model of car and whilst it is undoubtedly good news for the relatively small cohort who own or restore these valuable cars the very limited relevance causes the Federation considerable concern.

To explain, as many will know the front of an E-type Jaguar is made up of three tubular steel components bolted to the front of the body tub. This assembly carries the front suspension, steering and engine together with a fourth tubular member which provides the hinge mounting for the very substantial bonnet. Additionally for Series 1 and 2 cars the front frame carries the chassis number stamping. These parts, particularly the rectangular front frame, often called the picture frame, which fits across the front of the side members, are prone to both damage and corrosion. In a majority of cases a thorough and conscientious restoration of an E-type would require the replacement of these parts.

During the last five years or so as part of an ever-stricter interpretation of their policy and in a move away from accepting like-for-like repairs DVLA decreed that the replacement of any part of this front frame assembly constituted a chassis modification which in turn removed the car’s historic status and required it to be issued with a Q registration. To permit the issue of a Q registration an Individual Vehicle Approval is required.

The announcement from DVLA in March stated that after consideration they no longer considered this front frame assembly to be a chassis component and thus its replacement did not constitute a chassis modification.

Whilst any recognition from DVLA of the real-world practicalities of vehicle restoration is obviously very welcome, some might say overdue, the Federation is extremely concerned at the apparently discriminatory nature of such a limited decision. Despite prolonged and determined lobbying over a period of years regarding the very serious threat posed to the whole historic vehicle community by the ever-stricter interpretations of policy being applied by DVLA, the Agency has chosen to address just one aspect of one part of the problem which only affects a small group of valuable cars.

This point has been made in writing to DVLA and with the assistance of Sir Greg Knight MP also at Westminster. Sir Greg has also informed us that the report from the Cabinet Office review of DVLA is at the time of writing considered to be imminent. We have separately been assured that although, as one might expect, historic vehicles are not the main thrust of the report, our concerns are covered. We await publication with interest and will of course report asap.


On another subject, a few months ago I drew attention to a small but significant change in the latest edition of the V765/3 guidance notes for those clubs processing V765 applications from their members. This change was that the statement that the club ‘should’ inspect the vehicle in question had been replaced by the club ‘must’ inspect the vehicle. We have subsequently been asked what is meant by ‘inspection’. To the Federation this seems very clear – it means a physical inspection where the inspector is in the same location as the vehicle and is able to touch it if necessary.

For applications for age-related registrations, rather than the V765 re-issue of original registrations, DVLA will accept a decision based on photographs although this must be made clear in the report. Drawing on experience of many years, FBHVC would always strongly recommend that all vehicles (V765 and age-related) are physically inspected. It is permitted to delegate the inspection to an ‘appropriately knowledgeable person’.

Although it is now rather stale news I can end on a positive note. In December last year DVLA and Post Office Ltd signed an extension to their contract. This contract extension is a one-year rolling contract for up to three years, so the DVLA services will continue to be available at Post Offices until at least April 2027. More than six million people use the Post Office network for accessing DVLA services each year.


FBHVC Newsletter

Check out a copy of the latest FBHVC Newsletter in the FBHVC Newsletter Archive